From Houston Scholars

I would highly recommend CKLDP to anyone interested in expanding their network and gaining exposure to leadership training. For me, it was a great launching point to other leadership opportunities in both my firm and the architecture community, by expanding my sphere of influence and building on my soft skill training through the programming. It was incredibly valuable for me to be exposed to other emerging professionals in our field from different firms and backgrounds and be able to discuss and learn from each other’s experiences.

– Krystyn Haecker | Associate Principal | Mirador Group 

The Christopher Kelly Leadership Program was an excellent experience.  It was great meeting other creative and ambitious people and seeing so many different perspectives on the profession.  I feel like I learned a lot, and that going through the program helped me distill my own intentions about my career.  

– Caitlin Scott | Redtail Studio

As a mid-career professional, I applied to the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program to add new focus and energy to my career goals. I was impressed both by the accomplishments of my peers in the program and also by the energy and willingness of the group to be challenged to learn. The network of peers, both scholars, and speakers was the most rewarding result, and after completing the program, I feel a greater connection with the Houston architectural community.

– Jean Daly, AIA | Kendall/Heaton Associates

The CKLDP is a great opportunity to explore new ideas, expand your knowledge of architectural practice, and build friendships with a motivated group of emerging professionals. I enjoyed the program format: scholars design and lead sessions focused on relevant topics spanning the profession. Highly recommended for anyone looking to learn and grow in their careers!

– Danny Rigg, AIA | RIGG Studio

The Christopher Kelley Leadership development allowed me to connect with and develop a diverse and thoughtful network of my peers who I would not have met otherwise. The program challenged me to think differently about my profession and how I define the term Architect.

– Sam McGlone, AIA | Gensler
[ 2020 – 2021 CKLDP Houston Chair ]

I always knew that I would go off on my own, but I didn’t think the opportunity would come so fast. The CKLDP prepared me with knowledge and a trustworthy group of friends to turn to for advice.  The CKLDP was a tremendous experience.

– Clayton Fry | Clayton Fry Architects

I was excited to hear my acceptance to the CKLDP program. As an experienced professional pursuing an alternative career path, I had certain expectations for this program. It delivered, resulting in great relationships, updated perspectives, and an even better sense of self-awareness.

– Mark Behm, AIA, CMIT, LEED AP  | Behm Design/Build PLLC

As an emerging professional, the Inaugural CKLDP year in DC provided an incredible opportunity for professional growth outside my firm – and I still maintain the connections and friendships forged through the program. I look forward to Houston’s second year – and am excited to help provide Houston’s emerging professionals with the space to grow and learn from each other.  

– Amaya C. Labrador, AIA, EDAC, LSSGB
[ 2018 – 2019 CKLDP Houston Chair ]

From Houston Firms

I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of the Houston CKLDP program since its inception, and I’ve been more than impressed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from our participants.  We’ve been honored to have a participant from Perkins&Will in each Houston cohort, and many of them have continued to support the program as part of the organizing committee.  The CKLDP not only provides valuable leadership insights but forms a community of current and future leaders who will no doubt continue to work together for the advancement of the larger profession.  By encouraging a its participants to help shape their own curriculum, the program remains dynamic, ever-evolving, and most importantly, exceedingly relevant to the leadership challenges of the moment.  By its very structure, it demonstrates that leadership lessons are not learned passively, but through active engagement and vulnerability.

Diana Davis, AIA
Managing Director, Houston

I was struck by Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program’s (CKLDP) commitment to nurture the next generation of leaders through a curriculum designed to inculcate skills that contribute to a successful architectural practice. Our firm has benefited from the program not only in Houston but also Washington D.C. and Denver. Given the success and growth in leadership skills in the first cohort of CKLDP graduates at our firm, we have a second cohort attending the current session and we look forward to more in the future.

Tushar Gupta, FAIA
Healthcare Market Sector Leader
Formerly, Managing Principal, EYP Houston


I’m a huge believer in developing leaders in our firms and communities. I’m grateful that members of AIAH took the initiative to start the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program for our chapter. I have been supporting the program for many years. Only 10% of leaders developed other leaders, so this program is where our team members can take the initiative to advance their leadership journey. I’ve had one of my team members go through the program to improve his leadership skills and build relationships within our community. It’s worth the time of the scholar and the support from the firm. Together we can support the growth of our future leaders to create a better world.

Alyse Makarewicz, AIA
AMB Architects

The practice of architecture balances the scales of both science and art for the singular purpose of creating a built environment in which we can all thrive. Successful execution of this balance requires a truly comprehensive set of leadership skills. The Christopher Kelly Leadership Development Program is an outstanding resource to assist emerging professionals in developing the skills necessary to lead themselves, their colleagues and ultimately our profession into the future. As a long-time benefactor of the program, I have witnessed candidates demonstrate tremendous growth in communication, coordination, strategic vision and conflict resolution. The Christopher Kelly Leadership program is an invaluable resource and has my strongest recommendation. 

A.J. Sustaita, AIA
AIA Houston President, 2022 | Ben Brewer Award Recipient, 2021

From DC Firms

The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program is one of the best investments our office has made in our emerging staff.  It is like an executive MBA for the architect, focused on leadership and the business of architecture.  Having had several scholars in the program, our firm has benefited from their renewed passion, elevated awareness of the business side of the practice, and definitely bring more value back into our office than the modest investment of their time and tuition.  Regardless of firm size, firm structure or practice focus, there is not a better program out there for leadership and professional development of professional architectural staff.

Shannon Kraus, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP
Senior Vice President
HKS, Inc.

Over the past three years Quinn Evans Architects has sponsored four team members to participate in the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program.  Despite very different personalities and professional interests, each month our CKLDP scholars came back from their work sessions with new leadership skills, excitement, and energy that they shared with their colleagues… We are delighted with the program’s impact on our scholars and their teammates, and feel we have a great return on our investment as the scholars have taken on greater leadership and responsibility within our firm.

Alyson Steele, AIA, LEED BD+C
Quinn Evans Architects

WDG has and will continue to support the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program because it is an opportunity for us not only to recognize our young talented staff, but also give them support in developing professionally outside of our office environment… We have seen that the scholars from our office that have participated in the program have gone from architects that we have targeted as a future leader to young professionals that have more confidence in themselves and their career choices.  The CKLDP has given them a better appreciation of the business of architecture and how we as architects can be influential in our communities and advocates for the profession.

Sean M Stadler, AIA, LEED® AP

Our participants in the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program come back to the office with new ideas to share and further explore. The experience is a positive one – for not only the individuals – but the firm as a whole, as we watch our team members grow and develop. 

Mary Kay Lanzillotta, FAIA, LEED AP

We have been fortunate to have had two of our staff members participate in the CKLPD program.  The program exposed them to valuable information and a perspective about how a firm is created and operated. Both have grown from the experience and have become more rounded professionally and more valuable to our firm. More importantly, however, the program expanded their own professional network with other emerging professionals of their own age. As the future principals of firms, they will benefit from this network throughout their professional careers. We strongly support this program and hope to continue to encourage our staff members to participate.

Steven L. Spurlock,  FAIA LEED ® AP
WNUK SPURLOCK Architecture


We have had two promising young professionals from our firm complete the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program.  The program encourages development of strong organizational and leadership skills; scholars were encouraged to reach out to experts in various aspects of practice in order to develop their own unique curriculum for each class…  Participants come away with a rekindled academic passion in architecture, valuable practical knowledge applicable in daily practice, an expanded professional network and great self-esteem and confidence based on exposure and hands on leadership.  

David Haresign, FAIA
Bonstra | Haresign ARCHITECTS

From DC Scholars

“I like the scholarly content that was presented. It was great to have thought provoking conversations about our field and to meet so many engaging people.”

“This is an awesome program, very enlightening and exceeded my expectations! Each class was a learning experience and really expanded my professional network.”

“I like that the program is guided by the scholars within a flexible framework provided by the Executive Committee.”

“It is extremely difficult for architects to get all this information and education in one class, and I was astounded by the topics and the amazing support that the class has.”

“The CKLDP provided a wide range of topics and concerns that are often elusive to young professionals.”

“I think this is an excellent leadership program geared towards architects! The topics were great, and broad enough that teams could take a bit of liberty with the development of a sessions.”

“The Executive Committee have done a great job in establishing the CKLDP, I’m so glad I took part in the program and have already begun to put these skills to good use within my firm.”